Black-and-white portraits pop against walls of silver damask. An antique love seat sidles up to a zebra-printed chest. A chandelier's light glints against a table's gilded filigree. Although The Beauty Dive's historic-cottage setting radiates all things vintage, there is nothing dated about the pampering that occurs at the able hands of owner Yvette Reese and her staff. Yvette suffuses her studio with an atmosphere of creativity, encouraging her stylists and aestheticians to heed their own artistic inspiration as they forge modern hairstyles, eye-catching nails, and captivating cosmetic applications. To keep the image artisans up-to-date on the latest techniques, industry experts arrive every few months to lavish the staff with hands-on training and lessons in split-end psychology.
As stylists sculpt coifs to flatter individual faces, pedicure clients melt into oversize armchairs and bask in the skills of a master Shellac nail technician, who dips feet in fresh bowls of lavender-infused water before refining nails with sterile implements, unused files and buffers, and Opi and CND polishes. The beauty experts wield serums by Eminence Organics, Rusk, and Kevin Murphy, each of which are available for purchase to aid at-home primping. Between services, clients sip on wine, champagne, and martinis as they browse the boutique's collection of accessories and apparel from Johnny Was and 4 Love and Liberty, savoring a better union of sparkles and spirits than the wedding-ring speakeasies of the 1920 diamond prohibition.
Though Scot Trahan's diverse resumé includes stints as a Louisiana police officer and an activities director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, his career as a licensed massage therapist now tops the page. As Alpha Medical Massage & Rehabilitation's owner and head therapist, Scot designed the clinic to be patient-oriented. A smiling staff member greets each client as they walk in, and private massage rooms let clients relax into a serene world of soothed muscles. The therapists specialize in more than 15 different therapies, ranging from deep-tissue and sports massage to lymphatic-drainage sessions and stretching education that teaches clients how to properly stretch their muscles or subdue a possessed Stretch Armstrong. Scot personally uses his advanced training to assist patients recovering from various medical injuries, and he specializes in amputee therapies and massage for people with disabilities.
His partner, Natanhna, is a licensed massage therapist who uses what she’s learned at the University of Metaphysical Sciences to help bodies heal both emotionally and physically. She specializes in traditional Swedish, sports, deep-tissue, and prenatal techniques, but she also uses massage to help with joint mobilization and injuries. Natanhna even applies varying pressures to the feet during reflexology sessions that aim to alleviate digestive problems. While she works out kinks, she educates her patients, teaching them about the benefits of massage and how they can use it to become limber enough to do the latest dance craze, The Inflatable, Dancing Tube Man.
Exquisite Beauty Salon & Spa's seasoned beautifiers keep bods looking optimal with aesthetic maintenance ranging from haircuts to makeovers. Powered by L'Oréal's INOA hair color, their full and partial color and highlight treatments add new hues to heads without the use of ammonia, harmful odors, and melted crayons. Shellac polish coats nails in extra-strength color, helping mani-pedis resist chips for up to 14 days. Tech also perform addition by subtracting, nixing unwanted fuzz from brow to ankle with precision waxing services.
The best way to learn a new skill is to do it. And at the Austin Institute for Massage & Spa Therapies, professional therapists—who work in the field every day—inspire students during the massage mastery program. Students explore massage techniques alongside lessons in anatomy as a part of an extensive, comprehensive curriculum that culminates in official licensing from the state of Texas.
The institute's director and co-founder, Raul Flores, has worked tirelessly in the field since 1991—in practice, consulting, and education. He and his team have created a spa-like atmosphere within a 3,500-square-foot space where students get hands-on experience in real-life scenarios, such as in one of nine massage rooms, near an aromatherapy bath, or in the drawing room with the candelabra.
At Cielo Spa, clients can find relief for everything from stress to headaches and fibromyalgia. Rosalba and Raul Flores—the sister-and-brother team behind the spa—have created a service menu that includes deep-tissue, hot-stone, and trigger-point massage. Additionally, they offer paraffin hand and foot treatments, various facials, and a body scrub crafted from Dead Sea salts and essential oils.